I began life on a farm in Kenya, but when I was five my mother died. The Second World War had just begun, so my father set off for England to join the army. He left me in a Roman Catholic convent in South Africa, where I was educated until the end of the war.
There I learned to pray to the saints and to baptise babies in cases of emergency. I also learned to fear that the devil would appear to me, as he had to Saint Theresa!
Eventually, I joined my father in England but ended up living with an aunt who was strict. I found it hard to feel loved.
Later I qualified as a teacher and had a good job and lots of friends. But I was unhappy. I missed having my own mother and suffered from feelings of deep inadequacy.
Subsequently I was twice married, each marriage ending in divorce.
All through the years I had prayed to God to help me. I read psychology books. I even visited a fortune-teller and a hypnotherapist. But I still found no answer to what life was about.
I started a new teaching job. Then a simple incident triggered off a series of events that changed my life.
Walking into the school common room one day, I noticed a book on a table written by a girl called Joni Eareckson, and began to read it. It told how she had coped with being a paraplegic following a diving accident.
Subsequently, she even learned to thank God for her tragedy because it had caused her to seek and find him.
God is real
Not long after that I read in Readers Digest about Betsy Ten Boom, a Dutch lady who died in Ravensbruck Concentration Camp during the Second World War. She was a Christian who helped many of the other inmates.
Her ability to trust God in the most awful circumstances made a profound impression on me. I began to read more and more books about the Christian faith and became aware that here was the answer. God is real.
I listened to a tape of someone speaking about Christ’s crucifixion. At the end I was in tears. I had attended Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches, read the Common Prayer Book, sang hymns, had been confirmed. I had even taught my children to say prayers at night.
But now for the first time I was coming into contact with the true gospel and Christ the Saviour of sinners.
Needing a Saviour
So, as it turned out, were my two daughters. Quite independently, all three of us were being led by the Holy Spirit to recognise our position before a holy God, sinners needing a Saviour.
God did a radical work in my life, changing me from unbelief to knowing Christ. I became conscious of the awfulness of sin and concerned for the spiritual state of my friends and relatives.
I felt strongly the need to tell others about Christ and got into trouble with my stepmother for telling my father. The books I gave them were thrust back at me and I was thrown out of their home.
All for good
My prayers were now full of thankfulness for this new knowledge of Christ and sins forgiven. I had a new power given to me by God’s Spirit to hate disobedience. I was talking to someone I knew loved me.
I have been a Christian now for over fifteen years and have become more and more confirmed in my trust in Christ and his Word. I can truly say that ‘once I was blind but now I see’.
I am also encouraged by the promise that ‘all things work together for good to those who love God … who are the called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28). I am so thankful that he is a sovereign and gracious God.